Clifton Rugby Football Club History
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John Arthur Gregory


John (Jack) Arthur Gregory selected for England (Wing) in 1949 while playing for Blackheath. Born 22nd June 1923, Sea Mills, Bristol. Not sure of his Clifton playing dates.

INTERNATIONAL RECORD: England Appearances 1949

Career Record: P1, W0, D0, L1, Tries 0, Cons 0, Pen 0, DropG 0

15th Jan 1949 v Wales (Cardiff Arms Park)(FN) L 3-9



OTHER RECORD: Barbarians Appearances 1952-53

Career Record: P2, W2, D0, L0, Tries 1, Cons 0, Pen 0, DropG 0

6th March l952 v East Midlands (Northampton) W 9-3

3rd April 1953 v Penarth (Penarth) W 13-3



He was educated at St. Andrew's College , Dublin and Rydal School. He was banned for 1 year from playing rugby union after having played rugby league for Huddersfield in 1947. He was All-Ireland 100 yards and 220 yards champion from 1947 to 1949.

Back Row (L-R): Verney, Marsh, Watt, Rees, Rowlands, Richmond, Kirk, Houghton, Smart, Forshaw, Godsell. Seated: Kindon, Goulden, Gregory, FM The Viscount Montgomery, Matthews, Glyn-Hughes, Mackie, Robbins, Costello. On Ground: Scott, Davies, Pearce, Dewsnip.

Above the 1947 British Army side with Jack Gregory. Winners Training Establishment RAMC.

Jack played twice for the British Army. In 1946 against the Royal Navy and Royal Air Force.

A silver medalist in the 4x100m relay team at the 1948 Olympics in London. The medals were briefly upgraded to gold when the American team were disqualified but on appeal the winners were reinstated. He also appeared for the Great Britain relay team in the 1952 Helsinki Olympics but they came 4th. He raced for the Dublin athletic club Crusaders.

Above the 4x100m relay team at the 1948 Olympics in London. Jack Gregory standing 2nd right.

Above left the opening ceremony of the 1948 Olympics in Lonon. Above right a poster from those games.

Above the facilities for the 1948 Olympics in London.

Above British Athletic team for XIVth Olympiad.

Above Athletics programme for August 7th 1948, the day Jack Gregory won a Silver Medal.

He joined Clifton from the Dublin club Wanderers but quickly moved to Blackheath where he won his only England cap. In 1949 he joined Bristol where he became captain in 1952. He appeared twice for the Barbarians. His only try for the Barbarians was scored against the East Midlands. He retired in 1954.

Inset (L-R): H.B.Neeley, J.A.Gregory, M.F.Turner, A.C.Burcher. Back Row: F.H.Lacy,G.L.Spear. Standing: R.J.Jenkins, R.A.Bradley, J.I.Metcalf, A.A.Craigen, G.N.Wood, R.B.McEwan, W.A.Gray, D.Parsons, N.Christopherson. Sitting: D.C.Parker, E.C.C.Wynter, P.B.C.Moore (Captain), J.P.Stephens, B.P.Edwards. Front: M.Regan, B.Gale.

Blackheath 1st XV 1948-49 with Jack Gregory inset.

Above Jack Gregory comes out for his first match for Blackheath v Guys Hospital.

Above Jack Gregory makes a tackle during his debut for Blackheath.

Above Jack Gregory leaves the field after his debut for Blackheath in which he scored a try after 2 minutes.

The Picture Post on the 9th October 1948 said


Rugby football was in John Gregory's blood. He went to Rydal School with Wilfred Wooller, and played in the school team with Bleddyn Williams, Welsh giants in the game. His great ambition was to become an International. Claimed by the Army, he made a reputation in Service's Rugby. In the Forces, both professionals and amateurs played together as equals.

Gregory was a sergeant-instructor in the Physical Training Corps stationed at Newcastle. One Saturday afternoon in January, 1945, he went to watch a match between two professional teams. On the invitation of colleagues, he agreed to play for Huddersfield.

News that he had done so reached the ears of the officials of the Rugby Football Union. They banned him from ever playing the maateur game again. His Rugby career appeared to be ended.

And so it might have been, but for Brigadier Huges of the RT.A.M.C., to which Gregory was transferred in the later war years. He regared a life's ban as too harsh a punishment for one infringement of the rule against playing with professionals, and took up Gregory's case. The Army Rugby Union backed the Brigadier. The sentance for life was commuted to three years.

During these three years, John Gregory turned to the running track. He was working with the Imperial Tobacco Company in Dublin, and he became the Irish chapion for 100 yeards and 220 yeards. He was selected for the British relay team for the 400-metres race in the Olympic Games. It was he who took over the baton from McCorquodale and passed it on to Ken Jones, in the disputed second leg which the Americans were at first held to have lost.

In September, the three years' ban on John Gregory's Rugby career ended. He played for Blackheath against Guy's Hospital. His return was sensational. Within two minutes he scored one of the most dazzling tries ever seen on the Rugby field. He ran through half the opposing team at lightening speed, side-stepping man after man. Clearly he had lost none of his Rugby skill.

Now Gregory is returning to Ireland and will play for the Dublin Wanderers. There is little doubt that before the end of the season he will realise his ambition of gaining an international cap. Will it be for England or Ireland? He is eligible for both, and has no preference. But many Rugby enthusiats would regard it as poetic justice if the English Rugby Union, after banning him from the game, were to select him for the England team.

Above Jack Gregory as he appeared on the front cover of the December 1948 issue of Rugger magazine just after his selection for England.

Above official England v Wales match on January 15th 1949. Jack Gregorys one and only England cap.

Above unofficial souvenir programme cover from the England v Wales match on January 15th 1949. Jack Gregory’s one and only England cap.

Above unofficial souvenir programme team sheet from the England v Wales match . Jack Gregorys one and only England cap.

Above the England team that played Wales on January 15th 1949. Jack Gregory standing second left.

Above programme cover and teamsheet from the Middlesex v Gloucestershire match played at Twickenham on the 5th February 1949. The County Championship Semi-final. It ended a draw 3-3.

Above programme for the Gloucestershire v Middlesex match re-played on February 19th 1949 with ex Clifton player and newly capped England International Jack Gregory on the Gloucestershire side. Gloucestershire won 10-0 and went on to play Lancashire in the final on the 12th March 1949 at Blundelisands and lost 9-3.


Above programme cover and team sheet for the Bristol v Leicester match played on April 8th 1950 with ex Clifton RFC Jack Gregory on the Bristol side.

Above programme cover and teamsheet for the Bristol v Coventry match played on April 29th 1950 with ex Clifton RFC Jack Gregory on the Bristol side.

Standing (L-R): T.A.B.Mahoney, A.R.Northover (Treasurer), J.E.Woodward, D.W.Woodward, J.A.Scott, M.J.Howell, K.C.Smith, A.R.Sheppard, R.T.Moule, P.J.Williams (Secretary), P.J.Down (Chairman). Sitting: G.F.Cripps, A.M.Bain, T.U.Wells, J.A.Gregory (Captain), J.Tucker (President), P.L.E.Storkey, D.G.Pratten, G.Davies, G.Lovell.

For 2 seasons ex Clifton player Jack Gregory was captain of Bristol. Above Bristol squad in 1952-53

Above the programme cover and team sheet for the Cornwall v Gloucestershire County Championship match played on 24th October 1953 with Clifton RFC player Roger Alan Malcolm Whyte (Born 17th August 1929. Clifton College April 1938 - 1947) and ex Clifton RFC players Peter Young and Jack Gregory playing for Gloucestershire. The match was a 6-6 draw. Gloucestershire went on to win the South West group but lost the semi-final to the eventual winners Middlesex.

Standing(L-R): E.J.Parfitt (Touch Judge) (Glos Ref. Soc.), A.MacDonald (Bristol), M.J.P.Baker (Gloucester), T.S.Halls (Gloucester), G.Cripps (Bristol), R.A.M.Whyte (Harlequins), C.G.Woodruff (Cheltenham), A.Barter (RAF and Cardiff), J.H.Darville (Referee) (Middlesex Ref. Soc). Seated: G.W.Hastings (Gloucester), R.Hodge (Gloucester), Glyn Davies (Bristol) (Captain), J.A.Gregory (Bristol), G.Carpenter (Lydney), D.Ibbotson (Gloucester). On Ground: I.T.W.Pearce (Cheltenham), J.Taylor (Gloucester).

Above the Gloucestershire team that lost the County Semi-Final to Middlesex in 1953, with ex Clifton RFC player Jack Gregory. For some reason Cliftons R.Whyte is down as playing for Harlequins.

He died on 15th December 2003 at Laurel Court Residential Home, Nailsea, near Bristol.

His obituary appeared in the Bristol Evening Post on the 18th December 2003 and said

Farewell to a superstar

THE family of Bristol sporting legend Jack Gregory have paid tribute to the former athlete and rugby player, who has died aged 80.

John Arthur Gregory, known as Jack, not only represented his country at rugby but was also a member of the Great Britain sprint relay quartet, who won a silver medal in the 1948 Olympics.

Mr Gregory, who grew up in Sea Mills, began his sporting career at Rydal School in North Wales where he played rugby, athletics and cricket.

He showed great promise as a sportsman from the beginning and in 1940 finished in the top five batting averages at his school in the Wisden book of cricket.

After leaving school he joined the army as a physical training instructor, before joining Imperial Tobacco in Bristol.

As a result of his job he travelled to Dublin, where he pursued his professional sporting career and met his wife, Joyce.

While he was living there, he ran for the Crusaders Athletics Club and for three consecutive years was the double sprint champion of Ireland for the 100 metres and 200 metres.

Both the English and Irish rugby and athletics squads began to fight to secure Mr Gregory on their team.

He chose to come home and in 1948 ran in the 4x100 metres relay team at the London Olympics, where he became a gold medallist - for just a week.

The drama began shortly after the team finished second to the United States in the final.

The Americans were disqualified soon afterwards for an illegal baton change and Britain promoted to first place.

Gregory, who had run the second leg, stood on the winners' rostrum and was presented with a gold medal. But the Americans launched an appeal which overturned the initial ruling.

Moving back to Bristol, Jack began to play for Bristol Rugby Club and was captain for three years out of the five he played for the club.

In 1949 he was selected to play for the England rugby team against Wales at Cardiff Arms Park.

It was the only time he was called up to play for England - something that amazed sports critics at the time. During his time at Bristol Rugby Club he also captained the Western Counties team as well as Gloucestershire, playing for the Western Counties against the South African Springboks in 1952 and the New Zealand All Blacks in 1953.

In 1952 he represented his country again at Helsinki Olympics - this time the 4x100m relay team came four th.

Three years later he retired from playing all sport and became a HTV sports presenter, as well as having his own column in the Evening Post.

Mr Gregory, his wife Joyce, and their six children settled in Nailsea.

He was a loving family man who was never happier than when among his children and nine grandchildren.

He spent the last two years of his life at the Laurel Court Residential Home, in Nailsea, where he died peacefully on Monday.

Youngest son Rob said: "Dad was an achiever. He raised a great family and achieved the highest accolades in his sporting fields.

"He also achieved the friendship of nearly everyone he met." The funeral will be held on Monday at Christchurch in Nailsea and then South Bristol Crematorium, followed by a reception at the Grove Sports Centre, Nailsea.

The family has asked for donations to be made to the Stroke Association in lieu of flowers.

Above Christchurch, Nailsea.

On December 24th 2003 the Bristol Evening Post wrote

The life of John Arthur Gregory

BORN: June 22, 1923

DIED: December 15, 2003

MARRIED: Marie, in 1949

CHILDREN: Michael, Carol, Steven, Jill, Rob and Laura

GRANDCHILDREN: Brendan, Evan, Jack, Danny, Rosie, Chris, Lauren, Gemma and Tom

BRISTOL sporting legend Jack Gregory has died aged 80.

John Arthur Gregory, known as Jack, was born in Sea Mills.

After leaving school he joined the army, before joining Imperial Tobacco in Bristol.

As a result of his job he travelled to Dublin where he pursued his professional sporting career and met his wife, Marie.

In 1948 Jack ran in the 4x100 metres relay team at the London Olympics where he became a gold medallist - for just a week!

The British team finished second to the United States, who were then disqualified and Britain promoted to first place. But the ruling was overturned on appeal.

He also played for Bristol Rugby Club and was later selected to play for England.

In 1952 he represented his country at the Helsinki Olympics. This time the relay team came fourth.

When he retired, Jack became a HTV sports presenter and had his own column in the Evening Post.

His youngest son, Rob, said: "Dad was a true gentleman who would do anything for you. His sporting memories meant a great deal to him but he was a very modest man who would never brag."